- On July 30, 2018
Reading Housing Authority’s outdoor space next to Berks Community Health Center on Liggett Avenue is a little more active at this time of year.
Since 2016, the “Healthy Oakbrook” playground has been host in providing lunch daily not only for children of Oakbrook but also for kids in the surrounding 18th Ward to have a good nutritious lunch through most of the summer. The federally funded Summer Food Service Program through the Reading School District, the Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Department of Education strives to meet some of the nutritional needs during the summer for school age children in our community. Whether kids are playing on the basketball court, jumping rope or running through the sprinkler on the playground, kids can take a break for lunch because “hunger doesn’t take a vacation”. The other benefit is that parents can stretch their food budgets!’
Kickoff for the summer lunch program took place on June 26th and was attended by community leaders, Reading School District officials including Superintendent Dr. Khalid Mumin, as well as local fruit farmer and provider of some of the fresh produce, Frecon Farms. Attendees heard from Jack Knockstead, RHA Resident Services Director, about the importance that Reading Housing Authority places upon ensuring that families have the resources they need to use and enjoy their Oakbrook homes. Also on hand was American Dairy Association North East as well as special guest and former Philadelphia Eagle punter Sean Landeta.
The children enjoyed seeing and petting a newborn calf and had a chance in naming the calf that was born just a day earlier.
The United Way of Berks County along with Commerce Bank is looking to increase the number of children attending its Ready Set Read program for the summer that takes place during the lunch. Through partnership with Customers Bank, children ages 2-12 who attend the educational and fun reading program not only help reduce the “summer reading slide”, they can also earn a bike by attending ¾ of the days for literacy program.
Other activities include programs sponsored by the Berks Community Health Center, The Reading Public Library mobile van, Building 7 Yoga and artistic performers.
Last year more than 30 children earned bikes and bike helmets by attending the summer lunch and summer reading program in Oakbrook. There is hope to double the amount of eligible children this year.
In the photo above:
Nydia Staples, our new Oakbrook Homes Property Manager and Jack Knockstead, Resident Services Director, join Dr. Mumin and local dairy princesses in donning a ‘milk mustache’, as they demonstrate the value that milk provides to young minds and bodies.